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Video Game / Sakura Wars 4: Fall in Love, Maidens

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Sakura Wars 4: Fall in Love, Maidens is the fourth game in the Sakura Wars series and one of the Dreamcast's final releases, developed by Sega and Red Entertainment. Initially released in 2002, it was ported to Microsoft Windows in 2005 and 2007. It was the final Sakura Wars game made before Sega became a third-party developer.

In 1927, two months after Ichiro Ogami returns to Tokyo in Sakura Wars: The Movie, the ghost of the daimyo Nagayasu Okubo escapes from imprisonment and seeks to exact revenge on the people who have vilified him. While producing a stage adaptation of Les Misérables at the same time, Ogami leads the Paris and Flower Divisions in an effort to stop Nagayasu and save Tokyo for the last time.

Fall in Love, Maidens was the last main entry to use the services of Noriyoshi Ohba as an executive producer, the last to be developed by Overworks before their reorganization, the last to feature Michie Tomizawa as Sumire Kanzaki until Sakura Wars (2019), and the final entry to feature Daisuke Gōri as Yokihiko Otanote  before his death in 2010.

While this is not intended to be the final Sakura Wars game ever, it serves as a culmination of everything that has happened in the series and the last mainline game with Ichiro Ogami and the original Imperial and Paris Combat Revues serving as the focus. The game is followed by Sakura Wars: So Long, My Love.

This game provides examples of:

  • Action Prologue: The opening of the game takes place in Tokyo, where the Flower Division fight another demonic threat to the city.
  • And the Adventure Continues: Yoneda gives Ogami his katana and deems him the new commander of the Flower Division.
  • Avengers Assemble: When Nagayasu disables the Koubus, Ogami has the Paris Combat Revue travel to Tokyo via the Revolver Cannon in Paris.
  • Back for the Dead: The second version of the Mikasa returns in the second half of the game where Nagayasu uses his demon powers to control it. The ship ultimately crashes during the Final Battle.
  • Back for the Finale: The Paris Combat Revue, as well as Grand-Mère, Mell and Ci, return for the final battle with Nagayasu Okubo.
  • Batman Cold Open: In the Action Prologue, the Imperial Combat Revue stops two runaway trolley carts.
  • Big Damn Heroes: The Paris Division help stop Nagayasu from killing the Flower Division in the first act.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Mikasa is destroyed once again, the Rose and Wind Divisions have to retire and the Combat Revues go their separate ways after four years with Ogami and the Imperial Combat Revue. But thanks to their efforts, the Imperial and Paris Combat Revues have exorcized Nagayasu's spirit, perform a successful adaptation of Les Misérables and all is well in Tokyo once more. Sadly, Because You Were There establishes that two years after Fall in Love, Maidens, the demons are still at large. In addition, Sakura Wars (2019) shows that both revues, as well as the New York Combat Revue, sealed themselves to contain the demon invasion and a new Flower Division was formed with Sumire Kanzaki as commander.
  • Book Ends:
    • At the beginning, a music box version of "Blooming Maidens" from Sakura Wars 2: Thou Shalt Not Die plays.
    • In the Action Prologue, the "Main Theme" from the 1996 game plays.
    • The first and last scenes of Ogami's story arc take place in Ueno Park, where the cherry blossoms are blooming.
    • In the first game, the Mikasa gets destroyed after it invades the Satsuma. This game ends with the heroes crashing the second Mikasa into the ocean during their final battle with Nagayasu.
  • But Now I Must Go: At the end of the game, the Paris Combat Revue decides to leave for home once Les Misérables is finished.
  • Call-Back: The post-credits stinger where Yoneda is walking in Ueno Park not only recalls the first scene of the 1996 video game, but also to the film.
  • Creator Cameo: Oji Hiroi voices the Big Bad, Nagayasu Okubo.
  • Demoted to Extra: While Grand-Mère, Mell, and Ci are major supporting characters in Is Paris Burning?, their roles are reduced significantly in this game.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After much hardship throughout the four games and the movie, the demons have been finally vanquished from Tokyo and the world is at peace. Yoneda may have lost his former comrades, but retires peacefully with Ogami taking his place as the Flower Division's commander.
  • End of an Age: The game marks the end of Ichiro Ogami's career as the captain of the Imperial Combat Revue as well as Ikki Yoneda's own career as its commander.
  • Ghost Reunion Ending: In The Stinger, Yoneda takes a moment to briefly see the spirits of the Paris and Imperial Combat Revue members reuniting with Ogami, as well as the spirits of his former comrades Ayame Fujieda, Shinnosuke Yamazaki and Kazuma Shinguji watching him.
  • Grand Finale: The game serves as the conclusion of Ichiro Ogami's story arc that started with the original 1996 game. What's more, as the next game takes place in New York City and the 2019 soft reboot is set in 1940, it was the final mainline entry involving the original Imperial Combat Revue.
  • Heart Is Where the Home Is: Near the end of the game, players can have Ogami fulfill this trope by opting to stay behind with his Tokyo love interest rather than move back to France alongside his Parisian girlfriend.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": The Flower and Paris Divisions when they see Ogami in their bath.
  • Musical Nod: The "Main Theme" from the first game is used once again in the Action Prologue.
  • New Work, Recycled Graphics: Due to its rushed development, it inherits the same basic gameplay along with a lot of graphical assets from its predecessor.
  • Out of the Inferno: Ogami walks out of the flames after destroying Nagayasu's mecha in the first half.
  • Passing the Torch: At the end of the game, Ogami is promoted to manager after Yoneda retires.
  • Rearrange the Song: The opening theme is a new rearrangement of the first and third games' main themes, with Akio Suyama taking up the lead vocals this time around.
  • Recycled Soundtrack: Many of the tracks that were used in Thou Shalt Not Die and Is Paris Burning? are reused in this game.
  • Series Fauxnale: While Fall in Love, Maidens is the end of Ichiro Ogami's story arc that has been built up since Thou Shalt Not Die, it's not the end to the overall storyline. Even Oji Hiroi said this was the case.
  • Show Within a Show: The stage play featured in this game is based on the Victor Hugo novel Les Misérables, which was adapted into a musical back in 1985.
  • The Stinger: In the post-credits stinger, Yoneda is walking down Ueno Park as the cherry blossoms are blooming when he sees the ghosts of Ichiro Ogami reuniting with the Imperial and Paris Combat Revues, as well as his deceased friends Kazuma Shinguji, Ayame Fujieda and Shinnosuke Yamazaki.
  • Thwarted Coup de Grâce: In the first act, the Flower Division is at Nagayasu's mercy when the Paris Division intervenes.
  • Time Skip: The game takes place two months after the events of Sakura Wars: The Movie.
  • Trash the Set: The Mikasa ultimately gets trashed at the end of the game thanks to Ogami and the top girl foiling Nagayasu's plans.

Alternative Title(s): Sakura Wars 4